June 2019 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

Simplifying the Sophisticated Warehouse To Drive Efficiency - Serco Entrematic

Tags: Warehousing, Manufacturing, Supply Chain

John Carroll, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Loading Dock Products, Serco Entrematic, 800-933-4834

As the equipment and resources in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers become more technologically complex and sophisticated, well-designed processes and systems can help build a simplified, straightforward operation that is safer and more efficient.

Q: How can shippers, especially those in retail and high-volume distribution, accommodate the increasing demands of e-commerce with their warehouse equipment selection?

A: Those facilities focus heavily on throughput and efficiency and need equipment that has a high level of reliability. Our Kelley aFX air-powered dock leveler is extremely popular with this market segment and provides tremendous up time with a very low cost of ownership. Due to the high volume at those facilities and the speed at which they operate, strong safety practices become imperative. That means a strong recommendation for vehicle restraints that are interlocked with the dock levelers to operate in the proper sequence. Dock safety gates for fall-off protection are a great add as well. These operations are typically very concerned about moisture control at the dock, as they have zero tolerance for wet product, so proper environmental control is necessary. This can include a dock seal or shelter with an integral rain hood, like the Kelley Aqua-Shield.

Q: In today's technologically sophisticated warehouse, what are the biggest challenges to centralized management of the various facets of an operation?

A: Visibility to actions and status at the loading dock is a challenge. Which docks are in use and which are empty? If in use, what is the status? Not loaded or unloaded yet, in process, or finished but trailer is still present? Access to that visibility at a central location can provide powerful advantages to maximizing throughput.

Q: How does Kelley's Digital Master Control Panel help solve those challenges?

A: The Kelley Digital Master Control Panel features a Human Machine Interface (HMI) touch screen to control all of the dock equipment. A very intuitive, easy-to-use system only displays control buttons for the next proper operation in your chosen equipment sequence. That enhances efficiency and safety since the operator is not guessing which button to push next. Training new workers is greatly simplified. We use all symbols and no text, so multilingual operations are no issue.

The HMI includes a timer feature that gives the time elapsed since a trailer was restrained, so loading times can be easily monitored. That loading time metric is important to facilities for getting better throughput. It also tracks equipment cycles for both the lifetime of the equipment and since a reset, so maintenance can be better planned and budgeted. A service technician can check the status of the unit's power line carrier (PLC) without opening the panel door, saving time and expense. All of these data points and more can be viewed remotely via our 4Sight Connect cloud-based platform as well.